Friday, September 07, 2007

Air Force Academy

A couple of weeks ago Connie and I made a quick visit to the US Air Force Academy, just north of Colorado Springs. The Academy "campus" is a couple of thousand acres set in the Front Range foothills. The dormitories, classrooms, dining hall, etc are all set in a surprisingly compact area on a mesa top in the middle of this as shown in the photo above.

The mascot of the Air Force athletic teams is the falcon, as Pluvialis pointed out at length in her book. This exhibit in the visitors center talks about the active falconry program that the cadets have on campus. Gyrfalcons are brought to the sidelines of Air Force football games by cadets in the falconry program.

I thought some of you practitioners might be interested in this closeup of some hoods done up in Air Force colors.

Here is a display of a very nice wooden carving of a gyr that was donated to the Academy.

We also were able to see some of the aircraft on static display, like this ginormous B-52 done up in SE Asia camo.

Also this T-38, a trainer and not a very sexy aircraft, but it was located near the Academy's air training field. It's painted up in the colors of the Thunderbirds aerobatic team - apparently they flew T-38s for a while in the 1970s as a fuel cost savings measure.

Finally we saw this A-10 Warthog. The Warthog is of course a close air support aircraft used for attacking ground targets. According to the plaque at the base of the display, this particular A-10 is famous as the only one to bring down another aircraft in combat - an Iraqi helicopter during the First Gulf War.

Here's a pic of nose art on the Warthog.


Anonymous said...

I saw 2 A-10's fly over the house in MA once. Very cool looking bird.


Russ London said...

Several years ago I had to pleasure of a tour of the Academy falconry facilities (at that time licensed falconers could get a personal tour upon request)

The program is essentially educational in nature with demonstrations at football games etc. Other than one aside from my guide about a bird being in academy possession because it had previously been abused by its falconer owner, everyone was obviously favorable, and curious, about the sport itself.

It was also obvious that Glacier, the imprinted gyr "official" mascot seemed hopelessly in love with my guide, a very attractive female cadet.

All in all, the facility, like the academy itself, was truly first rate and impressive.

Anonymous said...

That Trainer painted up with the Thunderbirds skin....THE BEST pre-game prank of the last several decades was done by the Squids (of course) who repainted the entire plane, without getting caught, the night before the game, as a Navy Blue Angel. heh